ICE Office In South Bay Draws Allegedly Blocked Attorneys From Seeing Immigrants

Mike Colgan
December 21, 2018 - 1:22 pm

MORGAN HILL — Officials at an under-the-radar ICE facility in Morgan Hill have allegedly prevented attorneys from meeting with immigrants brought to the building. 

Detainees brought here three times in recent weeks have been held in vans for extended periods, which attorney Luis Angel Reyes Savalza said is inhumane. 

"They held immigrants here for prolonged periods of time," said Reyes Savalza. "They held them in vans from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and when attorneys showed up to represent these individuals — which is a constitutional right that every individual has in this country — they were denied access to attorneys."

The one-story building is at the end of a cul-de-sac and has no signage indicating what organizations operate there, but a Department of Homeland Security patrol car and uniformed officer were on the premises on Friday. 

An ICE spokesman said the building is an administrative office that lacks facilities for immigrants to meet with their lawyers, a statement said. Meetings with attorneys are only held at processing and detention centers, the statement said. 

Detainees have only been brought there to use the restroom, the statement said. 

That explanation is laughable, said Salvador Bustamante, executive director of Latinos United for a New America

"For them to come up with this kind of excuse…I feel outraged," said Bustamante. "They are just trying to justify a situation that has no justification to begin with."

The protesters, who gathered outside of the building on Friday, said detainees should be brought directly to San Francisco without any delay in Morgan Hill. 

"They have no business in detaining and separating families here in Santa Clara County," said Reyes Savalza.